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Call for Papers: Business Ethics and Corruption in the Globalized World

The OP Jindal Global University, the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Anti-Corruption Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law are organizing the first ever Conference of Business Ethics and Corruption in the Globalized World.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent financial crisis has opened debate on the wider role of business in society. As the regulations guiding transnational flow of trade and investment become increasingly permissive, technology reduces distance, and markets and supply chains get more integrated, modern business entities can be seen as inhabiting a global society. In such a society a corporate entity cannot be seen as a mere automaton guided by “self-interest” but as a moral entity that has citizenship obligations of its own. One critical obligation is that businesses shall not engage in acts of corruption.

Corruption can be defined simply as abuse of public office for private gain. (World Bank 1997).There can be ethical, economic and rights based arguments against business participation in corruption.

Thomas Donaldson and Thomas Dunfee propose an integrative social contract theory whereby business and society enters into an agreement of mutual rights and obligations, suitable for their circumstances. Though the term of these contracts may vary with the demands of the given society, they are subject to certain hyper-norms, i.e. overarching norms to which these contracts are subject. The prohibition of corruption is one such hyper-norm. As Steven Salbu points out, corruption is disfavored by all societies in all points of time. Susan Rose-Ackerman argues that prohibition of corruption is an obvious corollary of laws that allows business to exist.

Scholars across disciplines like Susan Rose-Ackerman, Johann Lambsdorff, Robert Klitgaard, Philip Nichols, Andrew Spalding, Daniel Kaufman and Shang-Jin Wei et al have comprehensively marshaled together research that demonstrates the impediment to economic growth, degradation of social and political institutions, misallocation of resources and skills, impoverishment, and numerous other societal ills that corruption inflicts on polities and economies. Research also shows that corruption acts as a regressive tax on companies, inhibit firm growth affect corporate structuring etc. Thus to use the simple economic paradigm, corruption can be seen as welfare decreasing and hence as a fit target for corporate and commercial regulation.

Corruption can also be seen as a violation of human rights. It is an impediment to access to justice and rule of law, both fundamental human rights (C Raj Kumar 2011). Alternatively if one adopts the capabilities approach of Dr. Amartya Sen, widespread and systemic corruption can be seen as impediment to freedoms and reduction in the capability of the citizen to democratic participation. Thus the issue of corruption by business organizations merges into the wider issue of the obligation of business to uphold human rights.

These approaches to corruption are not necessarily in conflict with each other but supplement each other in framing law and policy.

Call for papers:-

We are soliciting papers for the first conference/workshop. We invite thoughtful papers from academics, practitioners and students .Papers can be submitted on any of these broad themes: 

  1. Corporate liability for corruption
  2. Corruption and good corporate governance
  3. Industry and political corruption
  4. Corruption and democratic participation (especially the role of civil society organizations, community organizations  in combating corruption)
  5. Corruption and human rights
  6. Soft law controls on corruption
  7. The role of social-media in fostering integrity
  8. Corruption under the common law
  9. Private actions against corruption
  10. Corruption and third parties
  11. The corruption impact assessment of regulations
  12.  Collective anticorruption programs
  13. Anticorruption certification standards
  14. Control of transnational corruption
  15. National and international anticorruption regimes (especially with that in India)
  16. India’s role in combating foreign corruption by national companies
  17. Corruption and inward foreign investment in India
  18. The role and efficacy Anti-corruption agencies in India

This list is only suggestive: any submission related to corruption keeping in view of the broad contours of the Conference is welcome as well.

The event is to be held at the Delhi on April 30, May 1 2016 in India Habitat Centre.

Interested persons should submit a one page proposal to Suvrajyoti Gupta on [email protected] along with a short CV that should inter-alia contain their contact details.

The abstracts are to be submitted by February 15, 2016.

The Proposals will be reviewed by a committee representing the three sponsors.

The selected authors shall be intimated by March 1, 2016. 

If accepted, a proposer must supply a five page (or longer, if you prefer) paper by April 10, 2016.

Copies of all papers will be distributed to all participants before the workshop; an objective of this meeting is to thoroughly discuss the ideas contained in each paper. The precise format of the conference/workshop will depend on the number of submissions received.


Andy Spalding is a Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog and Associate Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.

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